What will happen with the touch of the Holy Light and its transfer to Greece
How restrictive measures to treat coronavirus subvert everything we know
There are many who, between serious and funny, say that the only thing that will remind them of Easter this year will be their now legendary TV series. Franco Cefirelli "Jesus of Nazareth"!
As those in charge emphasize in every tone, neither skewering, nor big family parties, nor gatherings in the churches. The danger of its spread coronavirus in our country, despite the many positive messages, it still exists.
Beyond his day Easter, however, there are concerns for two more days. One is Good Friday and the procession of the epitaph and the second on the night of the Resurrection and what the faithful will do with the Holy Light and of course the Divine Liturgy on the night of Holy Saturday.
The Holy Synod, for its part, has already decided to hold the services of Holy Week behind closed doors and the prayer of the faithful from home and the physical presence in the churches only of those who are necessary for the Divine Liturgy to be performed. Nor, however, is it certain that it will keep the faithful in their homes.
It should be taken for granted that the government will take strictly restrictive measures.
As it is easily understood, it is not just a simple matter to predict what exactly will happen as the data and any decisions can be overturned from one moment to the next.
And this is because, especially in his case Holy Light, It is not enough just the decisions of the Greek government but also to see what is happening in Jerusalem and the restrictive measures taken by the respective Israeli.
With the current data, the Netanyahu government seems to have decided to allow the resurrection service to be performed at the Holy Sepulcher, but with the presence of only one representative from each Christian denomination. The Holy Light will then be transported to Tel Aviv Airport, where it will be given to Christian delegations, but they will not land in its territory. Israel as the quarantine is in full force.
Israel will normally accept the special flights that will exist from countries such as Russia, Ukraine and of course Greece.
When the special flight that the Holy Light will carry arrives in Athens, the same procedure will be followed every year to reach every church, every neighborhood, every city in the country but with a design that will have been adapted to the restrictive measures. prepared by the state.
The problem, however, starts with that and whether the faithful will be willing to obey the government's measures and advice. Permanent Holy Synod.
And if we can not be absolutely sure about what will happen in a few days, one of the data that certainly makes an impression is that the coronavirus "managed" something that until now only the plague, the pandemic that had been described as "Black Death", had succeeded. To close the Holy Sepulcher!
Something similar happened last time in 1349 in the midst of the Black Death pandemic, which is estimated to have killed 100-200 million people in Europe and Asia.
In 1118 AD the Arab Salah El Din granted the Orthodox monks the pilgrimages of the Holy Land. El Dean stipulated that "the patriarch of the Greeks will be the lord of Kamare and he will take the Holy Light from the tomb of Ica to distribute it to the Nazarenes". It should be clarified that "Kamare" is the church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Christians are Nazarenes.
Note that only three Churches have sovereign rights in the Church of the Resurrection. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Order of the Franciscan Monks and the Armenian Patriarchate.
Today, in the Orthodox Church, the Holy Light or the Light of the Resurrection is called the fire which symbolizes the Resurrection and is transmitted by the High Priest to the faithful during its ceremony. Resurrection On Holy Saturday. As far as Catholics are concerned, in the 13th century Pope Gregory IX declared that he did not consider the Touch of Holy Light as a miracle. Since then, Catholics do not believe in it and do not recognize its authenticity, and to this day the official position of the Vatican is rather… neutral.
The flame is always lit inside the Holy Sepulcher and only in the presence of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Jerusalem. The Patriarchate calls the whole ritual a "miracle" without specifying whether the miracle is considered to be the sanctification of the natural fire or the lighting itself.
The ceremony of the Holy Light takes place at 12 noon on Holy Saturday.
Until 1988, Agios Fos arrived in Greece by ship a week after Holy Saturday. In 1988, on the initiative of the owner of a travel agency Iakovos Economidis, who was later awarded the titles of "Grand Lord Referent" and "Grand Cross", and in collaboration with Theodoros Tsakiridis (then president of the Olympics) Holy Sepulcher in Athens (and later the patriarch of Jerusalem) Ireneos, the transfer of the Holy Light to Greece began by plane immediately after its touch to the Holy Sepulcher with a special flight of the Olympic, the costs of which were covered by the Greek state.
However, there were not a few who at that time were talking about "sponsorship" of the Holy Light by the specific travel agency which also carried out pilgrimage trips to Holy Places.
The air transport of Agios Fotos was the responsibility of the travel agency until 2002, when it was taken over by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From that year onwards, the organization of the transfer was undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the initiative of the then Deputy Minister of Hellenes Abroad, Giannis Magriotis.
Every year the exarch of the Holy Sepulcher of Athens receives the sacred or "unseen" light and is responsible until it reaches our country. Agios Fos arrives in Athens by special flight (no longer by OA aircraft as it used to be) and specifically by government aircraft (Empraer), and is accepted at the prices of a head of state in Athens. It is then initially transferred to the Diocese of Athens. Then in various ways it reaches a large number of other Dioceses and from there to the local parishes.